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EU Countries Approve Law to Slash Trucks’ CO2 Emissions

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European Union countries gave their final approval on Monday to a law to cut carbon dioxide emissions from trucks, which will require most new heavy-duty vehicles sold in the EU from 2040 to be emissions-free.

The law will enforce a 90% cut in CO2 emissions from new heavy-duty vehicles by 2040. That means manufacturers will have to sell a large share of fully CO2-free trucks – including electric vehicles and those running on hydrogen fuel – to offset any remaining sales of new CO2-emitting vehicles in 2040.

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Most trucks on Europe’s roads currently run on diesel, which produces greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants linked to lung cancer and respiratory diseases. Heavy-duty vehicles produce a quarter of Europe’s road transport emissions.

Truck manufacturers will also have to reduce the CO2 emissions of their fleets by 45% by 2030 – replacing an existing 30% target – and 65% by 2035.

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From 2030, 90% of new urban buses sold in the EU will be required to have zero emissions, rising to 100% in 2035.

European autos group ACEA has described the EU policy as the world’s most ambitious, and said the targets will only be met if governments match them with a rapid roll-out of 50,000 truck-suitable public electric charging points by 2030.

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The EU’s truck CO2 policy has now won approval from EU countries and the EU Parliament, meaning it can pass into law.

That is despite recent complaints from Germany and center-right EU lawmakers, who had wanted the policy to allow more combustion engine trucks to be sold beyond 2040 if they ran on CO2-neutral fuels.

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In Monday’s vote, only Italy, Poland and Slovakia opposed the policy, while the Czech Republic abstained, an EU official told Reuters.

To win Germany’s backing, EU countries last month added a preamble to the law which said the European Commission would consider developing rules in future to count trucks running on CO2 neutral fuels towards the targets.

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(Reporting by Kate Abnett; editing by Jan Harvey)

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